5 things to know before the stock market opens May 29, 2020

1. Dow futures fall ahead of Trump’s China news conference

Dow futures were pointing to about a 100-point loss at Friday’s open after President Donald Trump knocked the wind out Thursday’s solid gains on Wall Street when he said he would hold a news conference Friday on China. JPMorgan strategist Marko Kolanovic, who called the market comeback in March, said Thursday evening he was turning more cautious because of a possible economic clash with China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.6% on Thursday after a two-session rally of nearly 4.5%, or nearly 1,100 points. Ahead of the last trading day in May, the Dow was tracking for an over 4% gain for the month.

2. Twitter flags a Trump tweet on protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office before signing an executive order related to regulating social media on May 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump’s executive order could lead to attempts to punish companies such as Twitter and Google for attempting to point out factual inconsistencies in social media posts by politicians.

Doug Mills | Pool | Getty Images

Twitter put a “public interest notice” on an early Friday tweet from the president, saying the post violated the platform’s rules regarding the glorifying of violence. The Trump tweet in question targets the protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd. In one police precinct of the city, demonstrators turned to rioting and looting. In the tweet, Trump threatened to bring in the National Guard to control the situation and used the phrase, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” On Thursday, the president signed an executive order on social media “censorship,” two days after Twitter put a fact-check label on other Trump tweets. On Friday, the president doubled down on Twitter.

3. Trump could escalate U.S.-China tensions Friday

Trump’s China news conference Friday could increase tensions between Washington and Beijing. For weeks, the president has been upping pressure on China over the coronavirus. More recently, the U.S. has criticized China’s proposed national security law for Hong Kong. Earlier this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China. In the 1997 handover from Britain, China promised to keep Hong Kong freedoms in place for 50 years. The president also has legislation awaiting his signature concerning China’s treatment of its Uighur ethnic minority citizens.

4. Costco sales growth held back by state stay-at-home orders

Costco sales grew in its fiscal third quarter ending May 10, as the wholesale giant benefited from customers buying packs of toilet paper, cases of bottled water and bulk grocery items during the coronavirus pandemic. But that growth was constrained by state stay-at-home orders. After the bell Thursday, Costco reported earnings of $1.89 per share on revenue of nearly $37.3 billion. Costco saw monthly same-store sales in April drop for the first time in over a decade, as social distancing rules limited visits, following a pandemic-related stockpiling surge in March. Shares of Costco were under pressure in Friday’s premarket.

5. Elon Musk earns first performance-based payout from Tesla

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020.

Aly Song | Reuters

Tesla confirms that CEO Elon Musk — who called coronavirus lockdowns “fascist” and reopened a California assembly plant in defiance of a local order — earned the first tranche of his massive incentive payout. Based on terms detailed in regulatory filings, Musk will receive about 1.7 million shares of Tesla, valued around $775 million based on Thursday’s close. Musk earned the first portion of his stock options for keeping the company’s stock market value at $100 billion on a 30-day and six-month trailing average. Shares of Tesla rose slightly in premarket trading.

Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real-time with CNBC’s live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.

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